About designing an onboarding experience
Good onboarding design is about reducing the setup time so that the new users can feel the core value of your product sooner.
What's the point of onboarding? A lot of designers hung up with that page where users need to slide 3 times to read some kind of instructions that we all know we skip most of the time. Here are some perspectives about onboarding:
Good onboarding design is about reducing the setup time so that the new users can feel the core value of your product sooner. An example of setup time is when the users need to log in to Pinterest and follow some topics to get the core value of Pinterest—which is to get inspiration from the recommended pins.
You see, when designing an onboarding experience, we must start by hypothesizing two things: 1) the setup moment, and 2) the valuable moment.
The setup moment is from the users downloading your app to do a set of required actions to taste the core value of your product. It could be logging in, completing profiles, or uploading their item if it's an e-commerce platform. In the Pinterest example, the setup moment could be: Users have chosen 5 topics of interest within the first day.
The valuable moment is when the users feel the value of your product. A lot of people call this AHA moment, but I generally avoid this term. In the Uber example, the valuable moment is when the driver gets their first order. It’s a moment where the users actually feel like, “Okay, this product is actually helping me.”
Delaying your login until the moment when our platform requires their data could be an effective tactic too. This helps users understand and explore your product first. People often abandon apps when they're forced to sign in before they can do anything useful.
Removing any steps that are not essential when the new users first open your product is part of the onboarding design. Remember, design is not only about making things but also arranging things.
The longer your users reach the valuable moment, is less likely you to retain them. This means the business will lose users. The better your onboarding design, the sooner the users will experience the core value of your product. Therefore, the more likely they return.
Don’t be shy to educate your users. A lot of people say that “Good design doesn't need onboarding.” I’d say that is b*llshit. If it’s a complicated product that users are not familiar with. Educate and guide them, but don’t forget to ensure that your users can safely explore the product.